Villain’s Den Gaming – Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

So, I rented Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from GameFly.  Now, being that I’m not much into Call of Duty or Battlefield games though I’ve played them (as I’m more a Halo fan myself), I must admit that I dove into this immediately because I’ve been playing Ghost Recon since the original came out back on the original XBOX.  I’m pleased to say, this game does NOT disappoint and holds true to it’s lineage extremely well.

You play as Kozak, a member of a four man special forces unit known as Ghosts, along with your squad mates Ghost Leader, 30K and Pepper.  Equipped with high-tech, prototype weaponry which is customizable and active camouflage (think Predator style), along with a mini drone helicopter that also converts to an R/C car and you have the ingredients for a unique gaming experience.

THE PROS:

The first thing that stood out to me was the customizable weapons in Gunsmith.  Every weapon can be customized from the paint scheme, to the barrel, even right down to the trigger mechanism.  All of these things affect maneuverability, range, control and rate of fire.  Most of the upgrades and weapons must be unlocked by completing missions, and achieving specific objectives within the missions, keeping the game fresh and challenging, and demanding that you replay through the campaign.

The drone is amazing!  It’s a four propeller hover drone with a built in camera, and as you fly it over the battlefield, you can assign targets to your other three teammates which they will move to line up a shot on, and once all have acquired their target, you send the command to take them down at the same time.  You can also assign a fourth, which you can line up the shot for and your teammates will shot as soon as you take your shot.  It makes for some interesting scenarios in precision takedown strategy.  The drone also can turn it’s propeller housings vertical and land on the ground, turning into a drivable R/C car, complete with an EMP blast mechanism which will knock out enemy electronics and potentially stun enemies who are nearby.

Active camouflage is an incredible feature.  It’s only active when crouch walking or prone crawling, but it serves it’s purpose well.  You can literally sneak up on groups of enemies undetected and launch a sneak attack that will leave them in a pool of their own blood before they even knew what was happening.

Challenging!  Even on Rookie, trying to make your way through some of the missions will see you restarting from checkpoints more than once, unless you’re just amazing.  However, from everything I’ve experienced, this game FORCES you to develop your tactical and strategic thinking, and sets a fairly quick learning curve that can mean the difference between success and failure.  And if you need more of a challenge than Campaign provides, Guerrilla Mode provides all you can handle as you face wave after wave of advancing enemies, and they don’t just sit in their cover waiting for you to pick them off either.  While you’re busy aiming at one side, the others will begin advancing.  It’s like a really jacked up game of “red light, green light” where instead of you becoming “it”…you die!

Your teammates are actually COMPETENT in this game!  I can’t tell you how many games I’ve played like this where your AI teammates might as well be riding tricycles in circles in front of enemies licking an ice cream cone which is melting down their arm while wearing a hockey helmet and a t-shirt which reads “I LOVE KITTIES”.  These guys are the real deal, and you’ll find as the game progresses that you actually develop a concern for Ghost Leader, 30K and Pepper, and will actually refer to them by name while you’re yelling at the screen for someone to either help heal you, or to heal one of your fallen comrades.

You get to operate a mech unit which walks with your group…firing missiles and mortars, allowing you to take cover behind and beside it…and YES, it’s BRUTALLY fun!!!

THE CONS:

The controls and the camera view sometimes become skewed from each other making targeting a close enemy, or navigating obstacles fairly difficult.  It doesn’t happen at a great rate, but enough to provide a hindrance, sometimes in critical situations.

UPLAY Code:  Being that I rented the game from GameFly, I was not given access to a UPLAY Online Code, which would cost me $10.00 to purchase, thus not allowing me to play online.  This is a pretty big deal, and a terrible growing trend I see happening among video games, tying a video game to it’s original user.  This seems entirely too greedy to me.  At a $60.00 price point for most new games, and not to mention having to pay for XBOX Live, as well as various DLC (Downloadable Content), making the game to where you really can’t re-sell it once you’re done with it, or charging someone who purchased it used to play your precious online features is greed at it’s highest.  These companies should be ashamed of themselves for exploitation of this manner.

This isn’t so much a con as it is a statement.  If you’re used to Call of Duty or Battlefield games, don’t have any fantasies about running out and pulling the “spray and pray” method.  You try to play the hero in GRFS, and your ass will get shipped home in a box really fast while your mother gets a neatly folded flag!  This game plays more like the Gears of War series where stealth and cover are your allies, and “pulling a Rambo” will leave scenery redecorated in arterial red and your brain matter.

Some of the weapons and mission side challenges seem nigh impossible to complete.  One that comes to mind is to shotgun 3 enemies using only 3 shells within 3 seconds.  First of all, for you to be in the presence of close range shotgun action in the midst of 3 enemies means you’ve already screwed up.  Admittedly I’ve only tried this particular challenge twice, but it’s definitely not going to be a walk in the park to accomplish.

FINAL ANALYSIS:

Ghost Recon Future Soldier is without a doubt one of the most fun combat sims I’ve played in a long time!  My 11 year old stepson and I have enjoyed playing through the game, unlocking customization effects for weapons, and seeing each level unfold and become increasingly difficult.  There is plenty of replay value in this game, and we may end up having to purchase it once the funds present themselves to partake in the online play.

Overall Score:  8/10 (I would have given it a 9 if not for the UPLAY Code preventing us from enjoying the full capabilities of the game.)

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